Mr. Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of the Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB), shares his thoughts with Tu Uyen on green credit and how OCB has implemented the model.
■ OCB was one of the pioneers in providing green credit. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the model?
OCB participated in a green credit program in 2012 that was initiated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), issuing regulations and guidelines in line with the program. During implementation OCB conducted annual reviews and assessed customers on their compliance with the green credit program in accordance with international standards set by IFC. Customers can enjoy many benefits when participating in our green credit program, with interest rates at around 1 per cent per year.
Green credit is part of OCB’s development strategy, together with the implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR), with a series of action plans in the “For a Greener Future” program. Implementation of green credit will be based on each development roadmap established by OCB. The bank is in the process of completing policies and management processes, to make them more suitable with economic conditions, the environment, and society, and will ensure the implementation of environmental protection provisions from the government, international conventions on environmental protection approved by the government, and the operating standards of the IFC.
OCB also monitors customers’ environmental protection efforts, assesses the environmental risk in projects, and reports on environmental and social management.
By actively implementing business programs and activities for the community, OCB was recognized as a pioneer bank in implementing green credit. Participation in the green credit program has helped OCB enhance its brand reputation in the international market and we were granted guarantees for trade finance. OCB is known not only as a professional brand, bringing value to customers, but also a brand with environmental and community responsibility.
■ Green credit has been widely introduced in many countries around the world but is fairly new to Vietnam. Why is green credit a new growth model for the country?
Green credit is a new growth model for banks in Vietnam because it is a development trend around the world and Vietnam is integrating more intensively and extensively. Vietnam needs to change gradually. Major financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IFC, and the ADB have set socio-environmental standards for partners to follow.
In Vietnam the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued Directive No. 03, on promoting green credit growth and environmental and social risk management when granting credit. Under the Directive, credit decisions will need to focus on environmental issues, improving the efficiency of resources and energy use, mitigating environmental effects, and protecting human health and ensuring sustainable development. OCB has also adopted appropriate steps and I believe all financial institutions and banks must develop the new model.
■ What advantages has green credit brought to banks?
Green credit has benefited OCB’s customers, which helps with our development. OCB welcomes support from both domestic and foreign organizations and its growth rate has double compared with last year. OCB has received support from customers for our CSR policies and our “For a Green Future” program. OCB is recognized at a prestigious institution in Vietnam.
After three years repositioning and announcing a new brand identity, OCB has received a number of awards, including Top 10 Well-known Vietnamese Brand, Vietnam Excellent Brand, Trusted Brand Award, Vietnam Gold Star Award, and “Best Banking Group in Vietnam 2015” as voted by Global Finance.